Keys to Victory: How Hawkeyes Overcame Illinois

Iowa's Luka Garza gets helped up by his teammates late in the second half of Iowa's 104-97 win over Illinois on Thursday in Champaign

The Illini rank No. 7 in the nation in defensive turnover percentage at 24.3 percent, and best in the Big Ten (conference stats only) at 23.6 percent.

Coming up from State Farm Center on Thursday, the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Illinois Fighting Illini will be matching up on the college basketball court.

He referred to the Illini (10-7 overall, 0-4 Big Ten) as a "very physical team, active defensively, deep club". Although Illinois was defeated, Trent Frazier fought to keep his team in the game with 27 points, shooting 50% from the field (making 10 of 20 attempts).

Iowa needed just 2:08 to reel off the first 10 points of the second half and force IL to call a timeout to pick up the pieces. Classmate Tyler Cook added 21 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, while freshman center Luka Garza contributed 19 points and 11 boards.

The Hawkeyes have been outscored by an average of 1.2 points in their last five games.

Points in the paint were controlled by IL, with 42 points, compared to Iowa's 38. The Hawkeyes were +19 on the glass (45-26) and they went 33-of-40 from the free throw line (Illinois was 11-of-14). 3-Point Goals-Iowa 7-24 (Bohannon 5-12, Baer 2-5, Garza 0-1, Dailey 0-1, Cook 0-1, Moss 0-4), IL 14-30 (Frazier 7-11, Jordan 4-8, Williams 1-2, Nichols 1-2, Alstork 1-2, Smith 0-2, Finke 0-3). "They are probably as big as any team in the league, especially on the perimeter".

Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey said Iowa started to find its way even before the 10-0 burst. "He was ready this time". Jennifer Nehls neared a double-double as she was the fourth Panther to reach double-figures with 10 points and eight rebounds.

IL scored 13 consecutive points with 13:56 left in the 1st Half, making the game 15-4 in favor of IL. IL is up 32-15 and has hit 5 of 7 3-pointers. They scored 54 points in the first half and led by thirteen at the break. Black and sophomore forward Kipper Nichols scored four points apiece as the Illini surged to a 15-4 lead. In its three games since the resumption of Big Ten play last week, Iowa's opponents have shot 53 percent from the field. "It was a manageable number at halftime".

-Iowa's defense was not good in the first half. But in the second half and overtime, we gave up 63 points. Junior forward Nicholas Baer (10 points) and Bohannon swished back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 54-51 with 17:52 to go. Cook leads in rebounds with 6.3 while Bohannon tops in assists with 5.0 per game.

Tonight marked the third time in school history that Iowa rallied from at least 20 points to win a game (23 vs. Gardner-Webb in 2012 and 22 at IL in 1987). Frazier led IL with 27 points. He had 18 3-pointers in 17 games heading into Thursday's contest.

IL reeled off 13 straight points in a run in which Iowa missed seven straight shots and also turned the ball over five times and the Illini later added a 10-0 run to seemingly take control.

"Then we opened the second half strong and now you're in a two-possession game with 18 minutes to go". In 40 minutes, he added 27 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 7 threes with 3 turnovers.

The Illini committed 31 personal fouls, and that's where their biggest hit came from - three members of the IL squad fouled out, so the team was limited come overtime. "When Luka came in, he came in with energy and confidence". Michigan's 0.373 free throw rate was their biggest advantage over IL, who had a rate of 0.214. Ten assists in Iowa's home loss to Ohio State on January 4 stands as his season high.

Who is healthy enough to play tonight remains to be seen, but Underwood figures IL can't afford to be short-handed against an Iowa team that he says is better than its record would indicate.

Iowa also came up huge in the paint. The only larger comeback was a rally from a 22-point margin in a 1987 game in Champaign.



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